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Question about multi-fx and gear in general


redspecial

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Hi, first time post but I've been lurking for a while and I feel this is the place I'm most likely to get a good answer.

 

I can't believe I am posting such a goofy newbie question, especially since I've been at it for 23 years but here we go. Being a multi-instrumentalist has its benefits. Not least that my being a reasonably accomplished keyboard player has given me an in with a local band who are now undergoing a slight personnel change.

 

Long story short, there is a decent chance that I'll get a shot at the lead guitar position (my instrument of choice) and I'm going over many solutions to my gear problem in my head because being of limited funds I need to make the best of what I can afford. Right now I am using a KORG AX1000g multi-fx that I really like, but there are two problems - one being it is a little noisy at times and the other being that it doesn't have a separate OD or boost option (like the AX1500g I used to have before I left the UK for the US. Being that I can't afford the VOX AC30 that I really want, I want to humbly ask a little advice before I decide if I should go ahead with getting the VOX Tonelab I have been eyeing up.

 

Can I get around the issues mentioned above by using a combination of a noise gate (BOSS NS-2) and a booster like an EH LPB-1 or MXR Micro Amp (even an OD pedal) to combat the noise problem and give me some extra oomph for solos? I have been able to get some really nice sounds from the KORG (I am a KORG user in general, FX and keyboards) and I know I will be able to get even better from the Tonelab. I'm not a gear snob so I am more than happy to work with what I have got and save my money for other things (like that Taylor I have my eye on for example.)

 

To help you help me, the gear I use guitar wise is a Fender US Standard Stratocaster or a Burns Brian May through the AX1000g into a VOX Escort Lead 50 (British made solid state from about 1981 - bloody nice amp). I don't get so much noise on either guitar when they are in 'humbucking' mode (ie positions 2 and 4 on the Strat or when combining pickups in the Brian May). I know 60 cycle hum is my cross to bear but I love the single coil sound!

 

Sorry for the long post - but I appreciate anyone taking the time to read this.

 

I look forward to becoming more involved in the forum in future

 

Colin.

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Look into things that help the noise situation on single coils and see if that stops it.

 

Putting the Ebtech HumX on the powerstrip that my amp and pedals get plugged into quieted my single-coil guitars. I don't use any multi-effects things but a lot of pedals.

 

http://www.walmart.com/catalog/product.do?product_id=10747518&sourceid=1500000000000003260420&ci_src=14110944&ci_sku=10747518

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Thanks - I'll look into that and other noise solutions. Do you use a clean boost pedal or OD pedal that might help me get that extra volume for a solo?

 

Ah, my mind doth wander when I get to thinking about gear, I still can't get the Tonelab out of my mind!!

 

Thanks again for your reply - will definitely take that on board.

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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I use a great clean boost made by a local guy here - the Lizard Leg Flying Dragon. Some people think it's expensive but it's invaluable to me!

 

http://lizardlegeffects.com/pedals/dragon.html

 

Before that I used to use a Boss EQ pedal that someone left around my place as a boost. Worked fine for that and I could accent different frequencies if I wanted. It still gets put on the pedal board sometimes and used to hit other pedals with treble or whatever to get sounds.

 

I liked the Durham Sex Drive, which is a clean boost pedal with a compressor you can add in, but I already had the Dragon and a Jangle box by the time I came across it.

 

Have you heard the Tech 21 Character series pedals? Analog emulations of Vox, Fender, Marshall, etc. Really fun little things. I have the Liverpool (Vox), then I got an AC30... I still use it sometimes as a type of third channel option with the AC30.

 

Also, I picked up a Seymour Duncan Twin Tube pedal, which is a microtube-driven preamp pedal with two channels, for fairly cheap on eBay. Since you're using a solid state Vox (and the Escorts I've heard were voiced pretty nicely) that could give you a clean boost and a overdrive boost and add a little tube thing to your sound.

 

Man, there's no shortage of gear in this world at the moment. Have fun.

 

(The SD Twin Tube -> Tech 21 Liverpool breathing life into a little Ampeg Jet I need to upgrade the tubes and speaker in)

http://photos-b.ak.fbcdn.net/hphotos-ak-snc3/hs104.snc3/15145_211833149622_726569622_4097177_2131213_n.jpg

 

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Thank you - lots of stuff to mull over now. I appreciate the help by the way. I feel like a bit of a doofus asking what is such an obvious question but needs must and all that.

 

That's a cool looking board you have there. I often thought I should go the pedals into tube amp route but there are options out there to make a solid state amp sound nice too. As you say - no shortage of gear to enjoy.

 

Thanks again.

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Sure... sorry to add more to think about.

 

A used EQ pedal as a clean boost would probably be all you need for now w/ the Korg or Tonelab. Rock on!

 

The EH LPB-1 is certainly affordable, but the people I know who've picked one up recently (using it with AC-15s, Egnater Rebels, Fender Deluxe Reverbs) complain that it's very noisy, which might add to your current noise problem. An amp guru buddy says the new ones are nothing like the old ones.

 

The big box music stores do have return policies, so you can experiment with your rig and return gear if it's not adequate.

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It's all good! I was thinking of the EQ pedal route as well, I had read it was a possible solution.

 

My acoustic gigs are much easier to set up for! It's fun experimenting with sounds though, and planning out what to spend the next gig's money on!

 

It is even worse when I start thinking about how to expand my keyboard rig . . .

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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I'm still using the KORG piano/workstation set-up I've favoured for the past 8 years or so, it does the trick for me. Most of my wants are in the vintage synth/module arena so I'm always scouring ebay for a deal. Torturing myself in the process, of course.

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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I like putting analog pedals in front of digital-modelers; a good boost or overdrive could be just the thing. Unfortunately, you're likely to add more background noise, as well...

 

It couldn't hurt to cultivate the "play the amp" approach of using playing-dynamics and the guitar's volume controls to vary clean to dirty tones and to have a little reserve on-tap to effectively boost for leads, etc. when the volume-knob is rolled full-up. Set your amp, Korg, etc. louder than you intend to play most of the time, and control your overall volume and tone from the guitar, with your fingers on the strings and knobs, not your feet on pedals.

_________________________________________________________________

 

Ultimately, if you can reduce the noise at the source, that would be best. Clean/conditioned AC power? Good quality cables?

 

You might be interested in the Suhr BPSSC System (Backplate Silent Single Coil System), essentially a dummy-coil circuit that uses a special replacement cover-plate for a Strat's trem-spring cavity as a type of dummy-coil to cancel noise.

 

A good friend of mine, a very particular, discriminating boutique and vintage amp/pedal/guitar kinda guy, loves the Kinman noisless pickups that he loaded into his Fender. They sound great, like excellent Fender-style single-coil pickups, minus the noise.

 

Noise gates:

 

(By the way- doesn't your Korg AX1000G have some kind of noise-gate/suppressor function on it?)

 

Try the Boss NS-2 or other 'gate in between the guitar and the Korg; it will cut off the single-coil noise between notes, without chopping off delays and 'verbs. Spend some time dialing it in just right.

 

If you can find one, the Boss NS-50 "half-rack-space" was incredibly excellent. It has a side-chain control input that will make the unit track your guitar flawlessly if you can feed a hot parallel signal like a headphone output from the Korg into it, while routing the guitar through the ins and outs the normal way.

 

For example, years ago, a fusiony/shreddy friend was playing through an ADA preamp into a rack of stuff and a stereo power-amp and a pair of Marshall 4x12 cabs, and not surprisingly, sometimes he'd have some serious noise issues. Before one gig when I was helping him schlepp his gear, I told him, "leave it to me, bring some extra patch cables, I've gotcha covered". Now, his previous experience with noise-gates had been unsatisfactory, including a then top-of-the-line "Hush II" rackmount stereo noise suppressor.

 

I put my Boss NS-50 in between his preamp and the rest of the rack- similar enough to putting it in an amp's effects loop- and connected his ADA preamp's headphone-out, turned up fairly hot (it had its own level control), to the NS-50's side-chain jack, and it tracked his guitars, all of 'em, clean, dirty, humbuckers, single-coils, Strat, Charvel, Levinson Blade, flawlessly.

 

He couldn't believe that he was playing through a noise-gate without chopping off his note envelope, and also how effective it was at cutting out the hum, hiss, and noise.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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More good advice - I knew this was the right place to ask.

 

I did experiment with the 'play the amp' approach you mentioned but I couldn't seem to dial it in just right. Perhaps I need to revisit that one day in a situation where I can turn everything up loud enough to get a more accurate response as it would on stage. Definitely food for thought there.

 

The KORG does have a noise gate but sadly in order to cancel out the hum, you have to turn it up such that it destroys any sustain. Of course, that may also be due to the fact that I haven't really sat down and played with it enough. I will look at the BOSS unit you suggested though - that sounds like what I need. At a pinch, I know I can pick up a used NS-2 pretty cheap so it's always an option.

 

I'll probably end up going for a Tonelab at some point, but with the solutions offered here I am able to keep my present set-up and enhance it with units that can be used with any upgrade as well.

 

Appreciate the help guys, thanks a lot :)

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Welcome aboard redspecial...if you're near a GC store give the tech 21 blonde a try...or +1 on any of the other 3 tech 21's...get some high volume push, sweet clean, or overdrive dirty, etc. and pretty much noise free for the amount of sound you'll get...
Take care, Larryz
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Thanks! I know there's a GC somewhere round here. As long as I don't have to drive all the way into Chicago I might go check some things out.

 

I really should go try all these before making a decision but I am always a bit leery of their policy regarding trying stuff out but not buying anything! Otherwise I'd be down there giving the Tonelabs a throrough checking out, among other things.

 

Anyone got any experience with the Chicago area GC stores, and whether I'd get excess hassle for just trying things out with no obligation to buy?

 

I know I was always able to do this in the independent music stores, but I've not really been in a big chain one yet.

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Welcome aboard redspecial...if you're near a GC store give the tech 21 blonde a try...or +1 on any of the other 3 tech 21's...get some high volume push, sweet clean, or overdrive dirty, etc. and pretty much noise free for the amount of sound you'll get...

 

They really are gems. I played 3 gigs last weekend with a singer/rhythm guitarist who sends a Blonde right into the P.A. Sounded great. Even if the Liverpool isn't in my signal chain it's on the board with cable handy just in case I have an amp failure and have to use it to go direct.

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Otherwise I'd be down there giving the Tonelabs a throrough checking out, among other things.

 

Check out the Digitech RP1000. It has a stomp loop so you can integrate your pedals and the modeling (which you can bypass if you want) is very good. The only thing better may be the Axe-FX.

 

That tube in the Tonelab isn't doing what you think it is as it's not getting the proper voltage for it to matter.

A Jazz/Chord Melody Master-my former instructor www.robertconti.com

 

(FKA GuitarPlayerSoCal)

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Hehe! More gear to mull over, I'm all for that. Just have to submit a convincing proposal to the boss with regards to laying out some money some time soon (not an easy thing to bring up with a new baby literally weeks away, but oh well.) Luckily I have a nice acoustic duo with by band's lead singer that is starting to pick up plenty of gigs to keep us going while the band is on hiatus.

 

That tube in the Tonelab isn't doing what you think it is as it's not getting the proper voltage for it to matter.

Honestly, I have no idea how much/little difference that tube makes as far as why I'm drawn to those units in particular. Possibly it is because I've been using KORG effects for about 80% of the time I have had an electric guitar and I guess the familiarity has more to do with it since it is KORG effects in the tonelab. I like the hands on interface KORG/VOX are using, and those units seem like a better upgrade than simply going with the AX3000g, or even the 1500g that I used to have before I left the UK. I'll certainly check out some demos of the RP-100 though, thanks for bringing that one into the mix.

 

I should, of course, make do with what I have so I can use my gig money to finance the re-stocking of my studio, since I had to sell all that gear before the move and/or buy that AC30 I've been wanting. I'm sure the boss has other plans for that money though ;).

 

Of course, it is tax time, and we did just buy a new house last year . . .

 

Seriously though, thanks for all your suggestions - they are giving me plenty to think about and it is helping the work day go by quickly, for which I am eternally grateful!

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Remember there are no stupid questions only stupid people:) Just so you know I've been going thru the same thing lately and trying to find a solution.A Mxr micro amp or the flying dragon get great reviews.The Eq route is great too cuz you can notch in or out certain freQ"s but adds a little noise.Lately I've been using a Digitech Bad Monkey with Ok results( No ac power battery draw is 300 Ma) so batttery draw is quick.Great response from everyone here on the forum.P.s. The Boss ns2 is great as well.Good luck
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Great response from everyone here on the forum.

 

Great responses indeed - I half expected my question to be way too vague to get much response but I've been given a lot of great ideas to think about.

 

I hope you find your solution as well.

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Welcome aboard redspecial...if you're near a GC store give the tech 21 blonde a try...or +1 on any of the other 3 tech 21's...get some high volume push, sweet clean, or overdrive dirty, etc. and pretty much noise free for the amount of sound you'll get...

 

They really are gems. I played 3 gigs last weekend with a singer/rhythm guitarist who sends a Blonde right into the P.A. Sounded great. Even if the Liverpool isn't in my signal chain it's on the board with cable handy just in case I have an amp failure and have to use it to go direct.

 

Just to be on the safe side I run a direct in box between my tech21 and the mixer even though it's called a sansamp...it really sounds great on my little Fishman solo amp and one of these days I'm going to try it out on my big Carvin PA...

 

On trying them out at the GC, call first and see if they have them before making a long trip...but in the store I go to they have a big selection of pedals ready to plug in with headphones and/or small practice amps...no hassel with the try before you buy concept and if they don't have any of the pedals on the floor they'll still pull one out for you...the Liverpool should get that Vox AC30 sound...the Blonde will definately get a Fender amp sound via the PA, I dialed mine in using a my buddies Hot Rod Deluxe and my Hot Rod DeVille...

Take care, Larryz
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Turns out there's a GC within 20 miles of my house. I'm pretty busy this weekend but perhaps I'll head down next week and price some stuff out and mess around with a few floorboards, pedals and the like. I have a little bit of a gear allowance coming my way left over from Christmas so you never know :).

 

 

 

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Not really a direct answer to your question, but I doubt the band you're trying to get in will care about your gear issues. I'd bet they're really only concerned about whether you can play well and if you seem to jive with their personalities.

 

 

 

"Imagination is more important than knowledge." - Albert Einstein

 

http://www.thesymbols.net

 

http://www.jascoguitar.com

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Actually I'm already in the band. I'm the keyboard player right now (little bit of guitar/mandolin as well) but recently we have parted company with 2 of our members, one of whom was the lead guitarist.

 

I (and they) do like my gear just fine, but I do feel I need to do something about the noise, and I may be due an upgrade soon anyway just to satisfy my own cravings.

 

Not sure I'll get it though, there are better keyboard players than me and better lead guitarists but unfortunately there are also more available guitarists that keyboardists. But you're right in what you say - the guys don't care about the minor shortcomings of my rig, as you say because I play well and we work together very well as musicians.

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Re-reading the first post I probably did make it sound like that. You're right either way - most of this is from my tendency to overthink things, or believe I need things I probably really don't!

 

But that's just part of the fun though isn't it - at least for me it is, looking at new gear and planning out what I can buy to enhance everything.

 

Well, it's late, so off I go . . .

KORG SP-100, KORG TR76

 

Fender US Standard Stratocaster, Burns Red Special, Yamaha Pacifica 303-12, Takamine G-Series acoustic, 1960s EKO 12-string acoustic

 

VOX Escort Lead 50; VOX Tonelab LE

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Ya know...

 

I can highly recommend the EMG SPC ("Strat Presence Control"), an EQ/boosting preamp module that replaces one Tone-control on a guitar. While it is battery-powered (9v), it will work with your stock, passive pickups.

 

Rolled all the way down, it's off and bypassed, and everything sounds as before, stock; but as you roll it up, it boosts and adds more and more mids and lows, and subtly rolls off some high treble, for an excellent fat, full, boosted, somewhat vintage-humbucker like tone that is natural and clear and never hyped, unnatural, harsh, or electronic sounding.

 

It's perfect for lead tones, clean, overdriven, or distorted; and while originally conceived for single-coil pickups, it sounds great with humbuckers, too.

 

Similar in concept to, but much more natural sounding than, the mid-boost found on the Fender Eric Clapton sig-model Strats.

Ask yourself- What Would Ren and Stimpy Do?

 

~ Caevan James-Michael Miller-O'Shite ~

_ ___ _ Leprechaun, Esquire _ ___ _

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